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School Leader Says Punishment should Fit Crime - John Dunn

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FRANKLIN, Tenn. - There is a call to change state law after a Williamson County school janitor is charged with secretly watching girls in a bathroom. Victor Alvarado was arrested for the crime, but he is only facing a misdemeanor charge.

Officers say Alvarado was caught moving ceiling tiles to watch little girls use a school bathroom. The crime is called "observation without consent," and it's a misdemeanor. Some say it should be a felony with serious consequences.

It was a stunning allegation at Scales Elementary. 48 year old Victor Alvarado, a school janitor, was charged with secretly watching girls in a bathroom. A second surprise followed. Alvarado's alleged crime is only a misdemeanor. "We don't think that is fair or right, and we want to make sure that an appropriate punishment goes to people that do those kind of things," says Williamson Co. Director of Schools Dr. Mike Looney.

Dr. Looney says even if convicted, the most Alvarado could serve is 11 months and 29 days in jail, and he would not have to register as a sex offender. Looney says when children are involved, the crime should be a felony, and he is working to make a change. "We've all sort of come together with this common vision of what should happen moving forward, and we're committed to seeing it through," says Dr. Looney.

No one is wasting any time on changing the criminal code.  A new law is now being introduced on Capitol Hill to change the law in Tennessee. "We have a significant gap in our code, and it was brought to light after this terribly unfortunate event," says Tennessee State Senator Jack Johnson, (R) Williamson County.

Senator Jack Johnson, who represents Williamson County, says state law must protect children. He calls the allegations against Alvarado deplorable. "Raising it to the level of a felony, and also requiring registry on the sexual offender list, would ensure that he is not able to go to another school, perhaps in another state, and commit this crime again," says Sen. Johnson.
Supporters of the change say the punishment must fit the crime. "Peeking in on children is a serious offense and should carry with it a serious penalty," says Dr. Looney.

Sen. Johnson believes the General Assembly will fully support this change in the law. Even if it passes, Victor Alvarado will still be prosecuted with a misdemeanor since that was law when the alleged crime occurred.  

For news updates follow John Dunn on twitter @WZTVJohnDunn

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